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Suitable candidates hard to find, says commission
There are some 212 vacancies for deans of secondary schools and 273 for heads of department, but these are far from being filled, as the Teaching Service Commission is finding it difficult to get suitably-qualified people. The matter was raised by Senator Subhas Ramkhelawan during yesterday’s sitting of a joint select committee at the Parliament chamber.
These figures, which were compiled by the commission, reflected the position as at February 8. Describing the vacant posts as significant, Ramkhelawan also asked why outstanding vacancies had not been advertised by the Education Ministry. In response, the commission’s chairman Hyacinth Guy admitted it was challenging to find suitable candidates.
“All of these positions were advertised in 2010 and we conducted interviews in 2011,” she said. “We find we are not getting persons with the required skills and competencies to move into these positions from the teacher training establishment.” She said apart from necessary qualifications, which would require a degree in the particular area, the candidate must have at least five years of experience in an administrative area.
The latter, Guy added, was the particular problem. “We are not finding people with administrative experience, even though we take in informal experience. For instance, if a principal has someone acting in a position informally, we take that into consideration,” she said. “But we are not finding that happening.” She said the commission only found a handful of people who were apt and the ministry was asked to readvertise the positions.
In explaining the process, Guy said the commission first had to ask the ministry to advertise the positions, the ad and the list of candidates would then be approved by the commission, and that would relayed back to the ministry for the ads to be placed. “We have done this exercise since last year and that advertisement hasn’t been placed,” Guy said.
When Ramkhelawan asked why the commission could not place the ad without depending on the ministry, Guy said this was the procedure according to the regulation. “We must work with the ministry...they must come along with us,” she said. Ramkhelawan, however, said to avoid red tape, some things should be done by the commission instead of the ministry.
Guy said the commission was in the process of updating its regulations, which were expected to be finalised in the coming months. At present, the commission is governed by regulations dating back to the 1960s.
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